21 November 2007

Australian games industry faces skills shortage

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Like many other high-skilled industries, the games industry in Australia is currently facing a skills shortage, it has been claimed, which could lead to an increased demand for skilled immigrants.

The game development scene in Australia has grown by around 15 per cent this year and is now worth $130 million (£56.5 million), with employment in the industry also rising, from 1,600 last year to 2,000 in 2007, GameSpot AU reports. This is fuelling the demand for skilled artists, programmers and producers.

Tom Crago, head of development house Tantalus, said: "There is a skills shortage in the games industry at present," adding that Australian games development studios would be hiring even more skilled staff over the next year, which could include local graduates or workers sourced from overseas.

British specialist IT professionals considering Australian immigration can also look forward to salaries up to 30 per cent higher than market rates as staff shortages bite across the country. Technicians with experience in disciplines such as .Net and Java are commanding premiums significantly above the five per cent pay increase received by the general IT market.

The Candle ICT Market Analysis Australia 2007 also found that contractors are 20 to 30 per cent better off than permanent staff.

Last week, Tantalus reported what it called its biggest ever year with the release of Cars: Mater National on the Nintendo DS and Gameboy Advance with THQ and Disney-Pixar.

Australia needs skilled IT professionals: anyone interested in applying for an Australian visa should complete the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa assessment to see if they qualify for skilled migration to Australia.

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